I usually like to take solitary hikes in the woods – just me and my camera. However, I had a week off from work and I decided to tag along with a “Baby Boomers and Beyond” program at our local Nature Center on Tuesday morning. The day was beautiful, sunny and not too cold. In fact, it was the only sunny day during my whole vacation. The program was about identifying deciduous trees in the winter. Once the leaves are gone, how do you ID the tree?
I was surprised at how large the group was. There must have been about 20 people there, and not all of them looked fit enough to go hiking. Okay, that meant that we would be keeping to the easy trails. If we got done early I could always take off and hike my favorite trail down by the trout stream.
Meaghan, our program director, introduced us to a couple of guide books and we practiced on a few branches in the classroom area before going outside.
Of course, I ordered my own copies from Amazon as soon as I got home. (Stokes Guide to Nature in Winter is out of print so I had to get a 2nd hand copy)
Then we went out on the trail. We limited the hike to looking at a few distinctive species, but hopefully the books will contribute to my future education.
A beautiful day for a hike.
The hikers, all eager to learn. Most seemed a lot older than myself but we all shared the same enthusiasm.
Our guide, Meaghan, showing us the American Beech Tree. The beech is a tree that tends to keep its leaves during the winter. Another identifying feature are its cigar-shaped buds.
You can tell an Ironwood tree by its “cat-scratch” bark. In other words, it looks as though a cat has sharpened its claws and scratched up the bark.
The wild cherry tree also has a distinctive bark. It ‘s called a “potato-chip” bark. (I’m loving the descriptive names that these naturalists have given the different sorts of tree barks).
Musclewood (also known as blue beech) is somewhat self-explanatory. You can see the sinewy-looking trunks, looking like muscles.
While other bloggers seem to have a “thing” for sky pictures, my obsession fascination tends towards water photos. I can’t seem to take enough of them. And just look at the view! Michigan winters have day after day after day of gray, gloomy, cloudy weather – it’s rare to get a beautiful sunny day such as this. I could use a few more of them.